Dennis Downs has been appointed by Interim City Manager Elaine Polachek to serve as Interim Fire Chief of the Santa Monica Fire Department. Downs, a retired fire chief and veteran firefighter, comes to Santa Monica with more than 37 years of public safety experience. His background includes the areas of administration, emergency disaster management, fire command, prevention, suppression, investigation, emergency medical services, staff training and community relations.
“Santa Monica is fortunate to have Dennis Downs lead the department as we conduct our search for a new Fire Chief,” Polachek said. “His expertise and intimate knowledge of fire operations at every level is a great asset to our city during this time of transition. We enthusiastically welcome him to our community.”
Downs retired from the Pasadena Fire Department in September of 2011 after nearly eight years of service. Prior to that, Downs served for 10 years as the fire chief for the Ventura City Fire Department and 15 years at the Fresno Fire Department. Since retiring, he has been consulting for the Tournament of Roses in emergency management.
“I had the privilege of working in three great communities, and now it’s an honor to work for the City of Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Fire Department has a long-standing tradition for delivering top-notch services and an ongoing commitment to the community. It’s a team I proudly join,” Downs said.
As interim chief, Downs will command 108 responders and 15 civilian staff charged with preventing the loss of life, property and the environment from fires, medical and other natural or man-made disasters.
Downs has a bachelor’s in Applied Business and Management from Azusa Pacific University and currently lives in Ventura. He will take the helm as interim fire chief on May 11.